J.C. Holdway is named after Chef Joseph Lenn’s late uncle, Joe Holdway, who sought quality food adventures throughout his life. Now Chef Lenn hopes to provide that sort of dining experience to his customers, and that he does. His professional career has certainly readied him to meet the challenge. A Knoxville native, he so enjoyed cooking for friends and family that he decided to attend culinary school, after which he went to work as an intern at Blackberry Farm and then the Peninsula Grill followed by working with Sean Brock to open the Capitol Grill in Nashville. An urge to return to east Tennessee took him back to Blackberry Farm where he became executive chef of the Barn restaurant and received the James Beard Award for the Best Chef Southwest in 2013. He opened his own place in 2016 in downtown Knoxville using primarily wood-fire techniques. Lenn’s attempt to provide an outstanding experience to guests succeeds so well that we cancelled out next evening’s reservation in order to dine with him again. Strong recommendation for this wonderful place and look for another chronicle of luscious dishes on this site in a couple days.
Pimento cheese was with benne seed crackers. The really crisp crackers tasted housemade and were wonderful with the good pimento taste of the spread. It had a perfect amount of mayo with a hint of spiciness. It left a great taste in your mouth.
Roasted bone marrow was mixed with field pea and broccolini salad and came with focaccia. The peas and broccolini made a surprisingly wonderful mixture for the bone marrow. The fun chewy focaccia was wonderful itself but divine when spread with the tasty marrow mixture. This was lip licking good.
Orecciette was mixed witn ham hock, spring greens and English peas. The ham and peas was outstanding but then add in the turnip and radish greens and it was a dish of delight. The ham added a real depth of flavor to the plate and the greens added good textural contrasts. This was just pure greatness.
A 16 oz grilled prime ribeye was served with smoked potatoes, broccolini, carrots and creme fraiche. The steak came out sliced and was cooked as ordered. The potatoes had a very smokey flavor while the carrots had great sweetness. The tender beef was very tasty with good beefiness. It was a truly outstanding plate of food with each bite being great on its own but all combined well too.
Blue Cheesecake was with strawberries, pecans and lemon sherbet. It had a milder flavor than I expected but was still very nice. The sherbet was set on wonderfully toasted pecans that was fun all by itself. It was not overly sweet but still provided the needed sweet fix to end this fabulous meal.